In this exclusive Q&A with BeanScene, Paolo Albertoni talks about the uniqueness of the antipodean coffee industry, De’Longhi’s status as leading innovator of the domestic coffee machine market, and what drives him in his role as the CEO for De’Longhi ANZ.
Let’s start with the big questions. How important a role does coffee play in your life? What machine do you use at home? And what is your preferred coffee?
Coffee for me is a kick starter. The first thing I do in the morning is make a coffee. I have quite a few coffees during the day too because why stop at one?! The machine I have at home is the De’Longhi Maestosa, our top of the range fully automatic coffee machine. What I like most about this machine is that it has two grinders which allows for two different kinds of beans: medium-roasted speciality beans for me and decaffeinated specialty beans for my wife. I usually have a Doppio without sugar.
How has your professional journey led you to your current role?
I used to work at De’Longhi headquarters in Italy where I was responsible for the USA and the UK but when the opportunity came up to come to Australia and start De’Longhi Australia and New Zealand, I jumped at it. The rest is history.
What motivates you in your work? What do you enjoy about being CEO?
What motivates me most is to build something purposeful together with others. I am very passionate and I always try to give 100 percent in everything I do. I love to work for De’Longhi, it is a multinational but still maintains the traits, the focus, and the dynamics of a family company. We have incredible brands and products and a great group of people starting with the De’Longhi family. Being the CEO of De’Longhi ANZ is a huge responsibility but also a great pleasure. It is a very dynamic job in a forever changing industry. The thing I like the most is that we are close to the market and the consumers and we can see first hand the results of our actions.
What excites you about the coffee culture here in Australia?
Here in Australia, there has been no boundary to delivering memorable experiences when it comes to coffee. Origins, blends, roasting and extraction methods, coffee machines, dairy milks and their alternatives, hot and cold beverages – the list goes on.
How important is coffee culture to De’Longhi? What role does De’Longhi play in this space?
Coffee is incredibly important to De’Longhi; it is part of our DNA. The Group has invested and continues to invest heavily in the category producing amazing innovation not only in terms of products, but also in terms of overall experiences such as the recent launch of our virtual and physical Coffee Lounges as well as our very first Global Communication Campaign featuring Brad Pitt.
De’Longhi is an established market leader in domestic coffee machines. What major innovations have led to this status?
De’Longhi has always been at the forefront of innovation. We continue to innovate so to highlight only a few of our innovations is hard. I would say though that our ‘instant froth dispenser’ technology that we call now in its evolution, ‘LatteCrema’ system, is originally what set us apart and allowed the famous ‘one touch cappuccino’ function that made our success in Australia. More recently, I think that our ‘Bean Adapt’ Technology, that we’ve introduced in our higher-end machines, La Specialista Maestro and the PrimaDonna Soul, is again setting us apart by offering a major benefit to our consumers. It allows users to adapt the machine’s settings according to the coffee beans they choose. It balances grinding level, the dose of coffee, and the infusion temperature to ensure the perfect coffee extraction while preserving and exalting the peculiar flavours and aromas of the coffee variety.
Can you tell us about your most recent machine launch and its unique attributes?
Our latest introduction to the market is the La Specialista Arte. The Arte was a key launch for us as it completed our range of pump machines with an integrated grinder after the introduction of the La Specialista Prestigio and La Specialista Maestro. This segment has grown very rapidly in recent years in Australia and it represents a sizable opportunity. We were also the first market within the De’Longhi Group to launch this product.
How does the antipodean market differ from other parts of the world?
The Australian market has always been at the forefront, particularly when it comes to coffee. With the support of the De’Longhi Group, we have been the first to launch a number of products and experiences. We have also been able to influence the product development to better suit the needs of our market, and that in turn has also helped the group leverage some growing trends in other markets.
How much input does De’Longhi Group take in from the Australian and New Zealand consumer base? Can you provide examples of where this feedback has turned into product development?
We strive to offer Australia and New Zealand consumers a wide range of choices so that whatever their preferences are, they can always find a great and innovative product within our range that will fulfil their coffee style and preference. Whatever coffee type you are, whether you prefer a ready made, tailor-made, manually-made or specialty, we have a solution for you. The development of a complete range of integrated grinder pump machines available at different price points is an example of how we listened to the Australian and New Zealand consumer and acted upon it.
You mentioned De’Longhi’s virtual Coffee Lounge. Why has De’Longhi invested in this and what are you hoping to achieve?
We hope to educate the widest possible audience on the world of coffee and help to bring excellence into the home environment. We want to talk about coffee as a whole, from origins and the different bean varieties, to the roasting processes and the machines that help facilitate the perfect cup of coffee. We have partnered with local roasters to provide expertise within this space.
Tell us about the physical Coffee Lounge that De’Longhi launched in Q4 of 2021? What did De’Longhi want to create with this venue? How does this differ from other De’Longhi ventures?
The Sydney Coffee Lounge has been a long time coming, having changed shape and timing on a number of occasions. The one driving force has been the desire to have an expert physical space where anyone from beginners to home experts can immerse themselves into the world of coffee, learn about different coffee beans and flavours, milks and get hands on with our wonderful De’Longhi coffee machines to deliver the perfect coffee at home. It is a destination of endless discovery, focused on the end to end experience and that celebrates our Italianity and our technology.
And last but not least. What vision do you have for De’Longhi in Australia’s coffee industry?
De’Longhi wants to play an active role and positively contribute to the ongoing evolution of the coffee market in Australia and globally. We want to be able to support every coffee lover being able to prepare and drink their preferred beverage at home, exactly how they each individually like it. That means having a range of versatile coffee machines that cater to all requirements, having accessible educational materials to help people learn and to partner with the greater coffee industry to identify and meet emerging trends. It is truly an exciting category to be involved in.